Tommy Guihen was born and reared on a small farm in the townland of Bodorragha, between Keadue and Arigna in north Co. Roscommon. He began playing the flute at the age of fourteen and quickly became an accomplished player of the Roscommon/Leitrim/Sligo style of traditional flute playing. He won the under 18 All-Ireland title in Ennis in 1977 and the senior All-Ireland title in Listowel in 1978. He toured extensively with Comhaltas Ceolteóirí Éireann in the late 1970s, 1980s and 1990s performing in the UK, USA, Canada and Australia.
He turned down many offers to play professionally in the USA, preferring to stay in Ireland and live in his native area. Tommy never yearned for fame or promotion, but preferred to play his music for the enjoyment of local people at concerts and music sessions during the past decades. He played throughout the 1980s in counties Roscommon, Leitrim and Sligo with a local band called Shebeen. Tommy has always learned tunes exclusively by ear. As a young man he learned all his music from local musicians. He admires the old individual and regional styles of older musicians which he feels are sadly in decline due to the wide availability of recordings and advances in technology.
Track List: THE TORN JACKET
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Tommy Guihen is completely new to me. He is a double All-Ireland champion on the flute, and from listening to this CD, a well-deserved one. On first hearing, I thought of the great Packie Duignan. It was therefore no surprise when I read in the sleeve notes that Tommy cites Packie as one of his early influences. His playing is very much in the style of many of the great Sligo / Leitrim / Roscommon flute players. This is a lovely, steady, rhythmic playing. No fancy stuff - just allowing the tunes to speak for themselves. The accompaniment on piano from Mary Corcoran is delicious.
There are some great tracks on here but the one I pick out as truly class is a set of three Josie McDermott reels played unaccompanied - Darby's Farewell / Father O'Grady's Trip to Bocca / Baltimore Salute - great phrasing, swinging driving tunes. I also enjoyed his rendition of Eleanor Plunkett with sensitive guitar accompaniment from Paul Gurney. Sleeve notes to the tunes are comprehensive and very informative; something that others could learn from.
If I have any criticism, it is that I would have liked to have seen a wider variety of tunes. Apart from two airs and one hornpipe, the album comprises reels and jigs. But otherwise this is a thoroughly enjoyable way to while away a musical hour. (Review by Brendan Carson)